Fast to oppose highway expansion

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Chennai, Sep 27 (UNI) The Federation of Merchants and Building Owners of National Highway 205 from Padi in the city to suburban Thiruninravur, would observe a day's fast on October 29, protesting against the expansion of the Highway by 200 ft.

Addressing a press conference here, Federation President K Mohan said the decision to expand the road by upto 200 ft would result in demolition of more than 5,000 residential buildings, 15,000 commercial buildings and 4,000 buildings, which had the approval of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA).

In all, more than 25,000 families would be hit and many of them would lose their livelihood if the government went ahead with its decision to take up the expansion project as they had invested their life time savings in building houses and starting businesses.

The people were living and carrying out business off this highway for 50 to 100 years and a number of hospitals, educational institutions and industries faced the danger of being pulled down, he said.

To draw the attention of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, traders, merchants and house owners, along with their family members, would oberve a fast on October 29 near Ambattur Uzhavar Sandai (Farmers' market).

Shops on either sides of the road in the 25 km-long stretch would down their shutters during the fast. The fast would be inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Traders' Federation leader T Vellaiyan, he said.

As the officials were ''misguiding'' the government, the Chief Minister should intervene and drop the proposal, he said, adding a memorandum in this regard had been submitted to the Chief Minister.

As the government had already launched projects to connect Bangalore and Kolkota National Highways, the expansion of the highway from Padi to Thiruninravur was totally a wasteful expenditure, Mr Mohan claimed. Expanding the highway by 80 ft from the existing 50 ft would be more than enough for free flow of traffic, he said.

UNI WS SJ NC NS1933

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